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The Science of Keeping Kids Engaged-7 Steps For Inspiring Creativity In Young Minds At Home

Creativity is not an inborn talent, it is an attribute that can be grown and developed, like a muscle. 

Sure, it’s true that some people are born with spectacular abilities—what else can you say about the likes of Picasso, Michelangelo, Jimi Hendrix, or Timothee Chalamet?

But that doesn’t mean that everyone can’t be creative. Creativity simply means the ability to create, to think out of the box, and to allow the mind to wander to places not often explored.

Nor is it solely about producing a work of art. Creativity is required for scientific inquiry, math, finding solutions to everyday problems, and even social and emotional intelligence. Creative people are, therefore, better equipped to take advantage of the many opportunities they will be faced with in life.

Besides, creativity is an essential component of health and happiness overall. That makes it a core skill to develop in children.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to send your kids to “creativity class” or force them into an activity they don’t like. Children are naturally creative, so a large part of what you have to do to help them develop that attribute is just let it grow.

This post is going to give a few tips on how you can help grow creativity in your kids at home.

1. Give them the resources they need to be creative

It isn’t just about getting your kids “things” that can help them be creative, it’s about giving them a time and space for unstructured exploration. 

A lot of what they will learn in school is structured education, and all of that stuff is very important because it lays the base for them to understand the world around them.

But creativity requires a lack of boundaries and structures, and yes a few simple tools can help. Give your kids a time, and if possible a space, that is dedicated for them to do what they like without any parental guidance. Let them paint, play with Legos, tinker with an old camera, and so on. Resist the urge to “show them how it’s done” and let them stretch their imagination.

2. Slowly add more tools to their inventory

You don’t need to dump every kind of art medium and toy on your kids at once. But access to a wide variety of tools gives them a chance to stretch their mind in different directions.

Besides, you’ll be able to see what they take to quite easily. If you’ve bought a clay set and you don’t see them using it after a few days, then you know you don’t need to invest in that later. But they will show an affinity to certain other things, and you’ll know that’s where you need to focus.

Also, it’s a good idea to convince at least your family and close friends that birthday gifts ought to be art supplies, cheap electronics, building supplies, and other raw materials that can be “worked on” rather than toys to simply be played with and forgotten.

3. Tell your kids that it’s OK to fail

The fear of failure is perhaps the single greatest threat to any creative effort. This fear starts developing early in a child’s life. But if a child can’t mess around and figure out what works and what doesn’t, then who can?

In fact, the greatest young entrepreneurs of the current age who went on to start some of the world’s biggest companies—Uber, Spotify, Amazon, and more—are certain that the key to success is to “fail fast and often”. That is, to try things out quickly, see if they are working, and move on if they aren’t. Maybe 1 out of 10 ideas will come to something, but it’s that one that launches them and their business to the next level.

So tell your kids not to worry too much about the output. Tell them to go ahead and start that painting, put those blocks together, write that story, and not worry how it will turn out. It’s the process of the activity that is more important than the outcome.

4. Ask them to share

Kids are always eager to show what they’ve done, so this probably won’t take that much encouraging. But be sure that they also share what went wrong with you. Again, it’s important to emphasize process over outcome.

Ask questions that will probe into their creative process. Something as simple as “How did you come up with the idea for this?” has the potential to turn into a very insightful conversation.

And remember, conversation is a two-way street. Be open about your feelings, and feel free to share your opinions. Give your kids the benefit of your years of knowledge and insight. Make sure that they know what you are thinking as this will encourage them to be more open.

5. Let them disagree with you

That is not to say that you should let them disobey you!

Rather, it helps to allow them to display divergent thoughts. So instead of outright saying “no, it’s like this…”, indulge them. Talk it out with them. Avoid thinking “it’s quicker to get them to listen right now, I’ll talk it out with them next time” because that next time doesn’t come.

Differences of opinion should be celebrated, not shot down. If children are scolded every time they have a divergent thought, they internalize this response and are less likely to question things later as an adult. This leads to conformity, doing what the herd is doing, and ultimately is the death of creativity.

6. Get involved in their creative pursuits

Nothing encourages creativity like getting your hands dirty with your kids—figuratively or literally, as required.

It shows them that you are interested and that being creative is OK. As far as possible, and as far as your child desires, get involved in their projects. You don’t need to be an expert in whatever they are doing, that isn’t what the creative process is about—it’s about being in the process of creation.

You may even find some benefits of this exercise rubbing off on you!

7. Encourage, don’t reward creativity

Lest they begin to see it as an easy way to get goodies and kudos, you don’t need to reward your kids every time they exhibit creativity. After all, as adults we know that the result of creativity is often its own reward.

Or at least, that’s the perception we want to set up. Our output-focused culture often robs us of the sheer joy of creating something for its own sake. Hobbies are seen as a waste of time unless they can somehow be turned into a money-making enterprise, but that was never supposed to be the point of being creative. That is not to say that one shouldn’t profit from their creativity if they can, but it shouldn’t be the sole motivation. 

As a closing thought, let it be reiterated that the outcome of a creative project is not that important. Not everyone is going to be able to make a sustainable career out of their creative pursuits, but that is not the point of creativity anyway.

The point of creativity is to be in the process of creating something. It is about experiencing those emotional ups and downs that occur in that process, and about allowing your mind to wander into new territory. That’s what creativity is at the end of the day—a mind game, one of the most important your kids will learn to play.

Georgia Test Prep web app for students launches new GA Milestone test practice feature

Georgia Test Prep is a leading online practice test tool designed to help Georgia students hone their skills in the state school curriculum and ace standards tests.

The tool is now launching a brand new feature that mimics the actual visual layout of the Georgia Milestones Assessment System (GMAS) tests. This will enable students to get familiar with the user interface of the GMAS test so that they will feel right at home with the real thing.

The Georgia Test Prep tool gives visibility into students’ progress with their analytics dashboards and provides a personalized learning experience for each child, allowing them to proceed at their own pace. The content on Georgia Test Prep is presented in a simple format for an optimum learning experience.

The new feature presents realistic GMAS math tests for grades 3 to 8.

Georgia Test Prep is the leading tool for GMAS Practice Tests because it is designed in Georgia, for Georgia students, by Georgia state teachers. It contains thousands of practice questions for grades 3 to 8. Practice test material adheres perfectly with the Georgia state school curriculum, so the questions are based on what students are actually learning in school. The tool can be accessed on any device and the question bank is being constantly updated, making Georgia Test Prep a more convenient, far more economical, and more comprehensive option than practice books. The Georgia Test Prep subscription gets you 24/7/365 access and support from the Georgia Test Prep team for less than 10 cents per day.

For a free trial join now!

About Georgia Test Prep

Georgia Test Prep is a web app designed for elementary and middle school students. It is tailored to help parents solidify what their children are learning in school.

Students can practice answering questions on various topics that are perfectly aligned with Georgia standards. Students will have thousands of questions to practice from in each and every subject for their grade level.

Media Contact  

Ashley @ Georgia Test Prep

marketing@georgiatestprep.com

5 Ways To Help Students Struggling With Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension isn’t about being able to string words together, it’s about deriving meaning from the text. In other words, just because a child can read a text doesn’t mean they truly understand it.

It’s the difference between reading Shakespeare and getting Shakespeare.

But the implications go far beyond appreciating literature. Comprehension is about reading between the lines, understanding vocabulary and figurative language, inferencing, verbal reasoning, grammatical development, and oral expression. It’s about being able to understand the reason something has been written, or what the stance of an author is on a particular subject. 

In this day and age, the ability to comprehend text is more important than ever. Being able to look beyond the written words of a text can, for example, help a reader differentiate between fake news, biased news, and genuine news.

Catching a struggling reader early is relatively easy, but students who have trouble with comprehension may go under the radar and only be found when they fail standardized comprehension tests. But all hope is not lost. This post is going to give you five ways to support students who are struggling with reading comprehension.

1. Try different subjects

Sometimes all it takes to get a student to comprehend what they’re reading is to get them to read something they are genuinely interested in. Feel free to look beyond what is traditionally considered “school material”. It could be fiction, it could even be a comic book. The point is to see if they are really able to absorb the matter.

Ask your child to pick some reading material for themselves, and get involved with their reading. Younger students may also be open to reading aloud for you. Every now and then, under the guise of curiosity, interject a question that will ask them to think about the meaning of the text. This will give the student an opportunity to become “the explainer” and subtly ask them to practice comprehension.

2. Teach vocabulary

One of the most basic ways to make for a richer reading experience for your child is to bolster their vocabulary.

Get a word-of-the-day calendar, use flash cards, or anything else—there are dozens of ways to help improve a students vocabulary, more than we can cover in this post. A simple game that you can play almost anywhere is to say a simple definition of a word and ask your child to identify the word.

Additionally, a strong vocabulary enhances fluency. We’ve all experienced it— we come across a new word, and that interrupts our reading flow. This can be especially frustrating for a child who is already having trouble comprehending a text.

So the other side of teaching vocabulary is to frame these instances as positive. Assure your child that even you don’t know all the words. Encourage them to view these instances as an opportunity to learn a new word.

3. Oral essay questions

Older students may not be comfortable reading out loud for you, but there’s more than one way to get involved in their reading.

Get your child’s buy-in to do this exercise—it could be seen as an invasion of privacy if you just dip into their reading material, no matter how good your intentions, and that will be the end of the whole thing right there.

The point of getting into their reading is to pose essay type questions now and then. Dig into the “why” of something that happened, what does your child make of a certain event or certain action that a character took, what real-world parallels can they draw, and so on.

A word of caution, however: be sure never to give spoilers. Nothing is worse for a child reading a beloved book.

4. Urge note-taking

This is a practice that we use even as adults. Any time we see something interesting, we mark it. If we come across a passage or term we don’t understand, we highlight it so we can come back and look it up. We jot down points of interest that will help us summarize a text for a presentation. We are always taking notes, in some form or another.

Urge your child to take notes and make marks when they need to read for comprehension, no matter how trivial the text may seem. This will get them into the habit of looking out for and identifying pieces of text that could be important for its comprehension. There is no shame in writing in the margins, and in fact it’s a skill they will use more and more as they progress through life.

5. Summarizing

One the best—and simplest—ways to test comprehension is to ask your child to summarize a text.

Ask for a 1-page book report on whatever they are reading. It doesn’t even have to strictly be a book. But you’ll be able to judge if:

  • They can identify the main points of interest.
  • They can tell you what the text is about.
  • They can draw out the meaning or intent behind the text.

You can make it a fun experience with a little bit of gamification and some kind of reward mechanism. For example, 5 satisfactory summaries earns a special treat.

Final thoughts

As with any method to help a child, the main thing to remember is to be patient. Remind your child that struggling with reading comprehension is merely a facet of processing information, and not of intelligence. Like all subjects, any child can get better at it with practice.

The best thing you can do is try to bring the areas your child is struggling in into daily life. Take it “out of the classroom” and give it real world context. You can test comprehension on a movie, or an episode of a cartoon. If they are watching the half-time analysis of a basketball game, you can ask them to summarize the main points. Make it fun and relevant to your child and you will see them develop the skills they need to succeed in school.

7 Important Learning Habits To Build In Your Child For Success

Many of the habits that we carry throughout life, for better or for worse, are developed in childhood.

American philosopher William James wrote, “Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state.”

But what does a child know about these matters? They can’t possibly know what they’re getting themselves into. They merely observe their environment and adapt accordingly from a very early age. In fact, research has established that many fundamental processes that have to do with thinking, reasoning, and learning are present and fully functioning at birth or develop by the time a child is 4-5 years old (Goswami, 2008).

As parents, we need to help inculcate good learning habits in our children. It’s not only about doing their homework every day, which is no doubt important, but also about how they learn. After all, homework will one day end, but learning never does, and developing a positive attitude towards learning is paramount for them to have a successful life.

Habits form early in a child

Habits form and get entrenched in the human brain automatically based on an individual’s environment unless there is a conscious effort to shape them.

Once habits set, they are very difficult to break, because repeat habits set up a dopamine release loop in the brain which creates a feeling of pleasure and strengthens the habit.

When it comes to kids, you need to catch them while they’re young—research shows that children develop habits by age 9.

But that doesn’t mean you should wait until you think they know what you’re talking about. Kids pick up on more things than we realize, and as mentioned above it starts from an early age.

While study habits can be built later in life, start with teaching your kids self-control. Research has shown that children who learn self-control at an early age are set up for more success later in life. Children who exhibit tendencies like impulsivity, aggression, and hyperactivity struggle emotionally, socially, and academically throughout life (Spira & Fischel, 2005).

However, this post is going to focus specifically on developing successful learning habits in young school-going children.

Habits take time to develop consciously

It’s a popular internet-fuelled belief that it takes 21 days to form a habit. But a study out of University College London suggests that the truth is not so simple.

While the 21-day rule may be applicable for simpler habits, like drinking a glass of water after breakfast, a more complex routine can take the better part of a year to cement itself.

As you work with your children to develop the following habits, understand that it will probably take some time for them to stick. Forming a habit isn’t easy, but once the initial inertia is overcome your child will benefit from it for the rest of their lives.

Now let’s get into the 7 essential learning habits that every child should develop.

1. Designate a study area for your child

Help your child create a study area, a place that is dedicated to school work and projects. As they become habituated to this space, it will help set the tone for concentration and productivity.

The “real” study area is, of course, in their mind. The ability to dip into and out of “focus mode” will serve them immensely later in life.

2. Keep short breaks between bursts of concentration

Sometimes referred to as the “Pomodoro technique”, this famous and well-loved productivity technique recognizes that the human brain cannot focus for too long without getting exhausted. It’s just nature.

Instead, your child can focus for a long period, typically around 25 minutes, followed by a short break of 5 minutes to allow the brain to rest and recuperate for the next burst of concentration. After 3-4 cycles like this, a longer break of usually 15 minutes follows.

Having to sit and concentrate for hours together can feel like a daunting task. This method, among other things, tricks the brain by setting a shorter time limit. 25 minutes doesn’t seem quite as long as 2 hours, so it doesn’t feel as daunting. The short break then rejuvenates the mind and makes it easy to keep going.

3. Understand how long work will take and prioritize

Encourage your child to learn how much time a particular task will take for them. They need to familiarize themselves with their working styles (while always improving simultaneously).

Then they can prioritize their tasks. Perhaps they want to do the ones that will take longer earlier in the day, and keep the shorter ones for later when they will have less energy.

We often don’t worry about these skills until we are in a professional setting, so helping your child form these habits will give them a massive head start.

Additionally, by developing learning habits that enable them to be in control of their work, you encourage them to realize what they actually enjoy more. This will help them make a more carefully considered career choice later on.

4. Let them solve things by themselves

It’s a natural tendency for parents to “come to their child’s rescue” whenever the child is faced with a problem. But doing this too much will make them over-reliant on outside help.

Instead, get them into the habit of solving things for themselves. Don’t just hand them solutions, guide them. A major part of learning—and life in general—is experimenting with solutions, figuring out what works, and even sometimes failing.

This kind of habit also can also help spark a natural curiosity in your child.

5. Build a growth mindset in your child

This mostly has to do about how you praise your child. We have covered this topic more extensively in our post on growth mindset, but here’s the gist:

  • Overly praising them for doing well can make them think that everything should come easy to them.
  • Overly praising their effort can also be damaging. 
  • Instead, focus on praising the process. It’s not so much about the result, it’s about how they achieved it.

Promoting a growth mindset produces in your child an attitude that intelligence, creativity, and personality can be cultivated through effort, makes them resilient to the specter of failure, and emboldens them to face challenges.

6. Foster creativity and curiosity

Creativity and curiosity are not always innate characteristics. Sure, kids like to explore and discover things when they are young, but some researchers believe that this is not indicative of inherent creativity.

Encourage your children to seek new forms of stimuli. Show them the thrill of discovering something new. You might even share some of your own hobbies, if only to show them how much joy it gives you.

Creativity and curiosity do occur naturally in spades in some children, but they are also habits that can be developed with constant stimuli.

7. Help them to be gritty

As an adult, you know that to succeed in life you have to invest a lot of time in what you do. This takes grit and determination. It’s very important to develop this habit in your child, especially since we live in an age of instant gratification.

Grit can be defined as “passion and perseverance for especially long-term goals.” Research from psychology Professor, Angela Duckworth found a correlation between grit and rank in the US National Spelling Bee, educational attainment, grade-point average in Ivy League undergrads, and retention of West Point cadets.

It’s easy to be interested in something initially and then quickly lose interest in it. But if your kids want to see the rewards, they have to stick with it. They’ll be naturally inclined toward certain things, so help them connect a purpose to their hard work in that area.

The best habit they can have

The habits discussed in this post are all geared towards making your child a resilient and strong learner.

It is important to build these habits in your child from an early age when their brains are still very impressionable. At that age, it’s far too easy to fall into bad habits that can stick around for a long time (possibly their entire life).

It’s paramount that parents guide their children. But we aren’t the only influences on our child’s mind. Our children’s minds are constantly bombarded with input from the media, other kids at school, their teachers, and other adults. There is no stopping this, whether we like it or not.

So the best habit you can give your child is to question everything. 

They might be influenced by something they saw on TV or something someone said at school, and they can’t possibly have the knowledge and experience to inform them of what they might be getting themselves into.

Teach them that this is OK, and in fact completely normal. Teach them that no one has all the answers, not even you, and that life is about figuring these things out bit by bit. Ensure them that when they have a question, they can rely on you to figure it out together.

After all, life is a constant game of learning. 

The habits discussed in the post, taken together, will give your child the tools they need to maintain curiosity, spark creativity, and find success in life—whatever that winds up meaning to them.

Addressing Technology Addiction In Your Kids

Kids these days have it way different from how we had it.

Most notably, they have a tiny rectangle that fits in the palm of their hand that gives them access to all of recorded human history and culture… and this is a gift and a curse!

Poetic musings aside, we do need to talk about a serious problem that many kids born in the digital age may face: technology addiction.

How does Technology Addiction happen?

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and this applies to technology as well.

Technology addiction forms the same way all addictions form: through over-reliance on a chemical release. This may apply to you as well.

Essentially, we get a small release of dopamine through many of the actions we do through our technology. When we receive/send a message, when we get new likes on our latest post, when we beat the next level on Candy Crush—all of these actions release dopamine.

The problem is that these actions are so easy and so innocuous that we can get addicted to the dopamine release cycle without even noticing it.

Harmful effects of Technology Addiction

With every experience that we have, neurons are fired in the brain.

Every repeated experience fires the same neural pathways. The more frequently these neural pathways are fired, the stronger they become. This affects the physical structure of the brain. This is why when we practice something a lot we can seemingly do it “without even thinking about it”.

You can begin to see how important this is for a child, because their brains are a relatively fresh slate, and hence highly impressionable.

Areas of the brain that get used more often become stronger. Similarly, areas of the brain that are not regularly used can fall out of practice. These neural pathways can even stop firing at all.

For example, consider the difference between reading a story to your child and letting an app read them a story. In the former, they are forced to process your voice into words, follow the storyline, and create their own visualization. In the latter, they are spoon-fed images and words, they can go back and forth as they please, and it turns out to be a very passive activity for them. It doesn’t exercise their creativity at all.

Some of the common problems exhibited by children who develop a technology addiction are:

  • Poor face-to-face communication skills
  • Attention deficiency
  • Trouble making friends 
  • Self-isolation
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Difficulty sleeping

Does my kid have a Technology Addiction?

It can often be hard to pin down. As parents, we may even feel inclined to lie to ourselves about it.

But we have to be vigilant. Look for the following signs of possible dependency on technology in your kids.

  1. Lack of interest in other activities. They are unable to find entertainment in activities that don’t involve technology. Or they used to enjoy things that they don’t seem to anymore.
  2. Displaying problematic behavior when they can’t access their devices. They throw excessive tantrums or become uncharacteristically aggressive.
  3. Displaying withdrawal symptoms when they can’t access their devices. They seem anxious or upset, and might only become calm when they get their devices.
  4. Constant distraction by technology. You find it difficult to communicate with them or get their attention when they are using their devices, or they always seem to be waiting for the next time they can get online.
  5. Constant talking about screen-time. When they are not using their devices, they are referring to them in one way or another.

Addressing Technology Addiction in your kids: The DOs and DON’Ts

OK, so you’ve detected a problem. Now how to fix it?

First and foremost, take a step back and realize that you don’t know what it’s like to be in their situation. All of this wonderful technology—smartphones, broadband internet, social media, and so on—came to us at a time when we were already relatively mature. Our kids, on the other hand, were born right into this world. While we knew a pre-digital world and can compare today with that time, kids have no such standard—what they know today is their complete reality.

Be sensitive and kind. Remember to treat them as equals. Coming off a technology addiction is difficult, and there may be moments of strain.

And finally, you will need to be present and set an example.

That being said, let’s get into the DOs and DON’Ts of addressing technology addiction in your kids.

DO #1: Address the problem

The first step is obvious, but approach is everything.

Think about the issue, what the problem is, and what your goals are.

In a two-parent household, both of you must be united and agree on common goals. You probably know what happens if you are not united on an issue—your child takes the soft corner and gets their way.

DO #2: Show your child that you care

When you broach the subject, do not make it sound like a punishment or like you are leveling an accusation. You are bringing it up because you care—that needs to show through. 

Children often view questions about their behavior as a condemnation of sorts, so you need to reassure them that this is not the case.

A child who has a technology addiction may feel threatened by this kind of talk, so be prepared for all kinds of emotional outbursts, accusations, and tirades meant to make you feel guilty. This kind of response is natural.

Your best line of defense? Don’t respond to the emotion. Acknowledge their feelings, but stay focused on the issue.

DO #3: Decide screen time limits

Implement limits with kindness, but also with firmness. And remember that there are a number of ways to implement screen time limits.

One way is setting boundaries, like no screen-time during family-time, or before bed.

You can also make a hierarchy of screen-time. For example, allocate some time to educational apps or communal screen time, and reserve the rest for free-time or individual screen-time.

Involve your children in the decision of screen-time limits, but remember to be firm.

DO #4: Get them outside more often

Take them on a walk around the block, or a hike through the woods.

Take them on a trip to the store without their devices.

Whatever you do, get them out.

It doesn’t have to be every day, but build a habit in your kids to spend some time outside without their devices, especially in nature.

DON’T #1: Don’t shout, lecture, or blame

As you are coming from a position of care, refrain from these actions.

It’s difficult for kids to understand that they have a technology addiction. They cannot see the situation from outside of themselves.

This might call on you to show immense patience, but this is better than condemning your child and causing them to build resentment or self-hate.

Bring the conversation to concerns that you have, and highlight those concerns—it might be fatigue, declining grades, giving up hobbies, social withdrawal, etc. Assure them that you will take the journey with them, so they don’t feel alone. 

DON’T #2: Don’t get them to quit cold turkey

A sudden transition will feel more like a punishment than anything else, and is likely to exacerbate any withdrawal symptoms.

Take a staggered approach. Outline your ultimate goal with them (say, reducing screen-time to 1 hour per day), and gradually work towards it.

Have regular check-ins with them to ask them how they are doing and to give them encouragement, and also to praise their commitment. A little bit of positive reinforcement can go a long way.

DON’T #3: Don’t fill in the gaps

Your kids may experience a void left by the absence of their devices. Parents sometimes tend to feel a responsibility to then structure their child’s time so that they don’t feel upset or bored.

This amounts to a form of rescuing your child. You don’t need to do that.

Trust your child to deal with the boredom and frustration. Let them figure it out! The experience will give them the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills and resilience.

DON’T #4: Don’t use a device as a shut-up toy

Although this is more of a preventative than a curative measure, it’s worth mentioning.

Don’t use the device as a bargaining chip or a distraction to get unruly children to behave or sit quietly. This is enabling behavior.

DON’T #5: Don’t overuse your own device

As with all other behaviors, the most effective thing you can do to influence your child’s relationship with technology is to set an example.

That might mean overcoming your own desire to keep checking your devices.

If you have designated family time, strictly keep your own devices away. That email from the office can wait, especially if it’s after work hours.

Let your kids see you doing other activities in the evenings. For example, the best way to instill a reading habit in them is to let them see you reading.

Set high standards of device independence for yourself, and your children will follow your lead. This can only be good for both of you. 

A technology addiction, like any addiction, is a serious issue. But that doesn’t mean that it should be a cause for panic.

Modern technology is a wonderful ally that enables us to do amazing things when used in moderation.

Keep a vigilant eye on your child’s technology habits, and don’t be afraid to have a difficult conversation if you see signs of a technology addiction.

Also keep an eye on your own technology habits! It will be impossible to get your child to follow your rules if they constantly see you breaking them. This is a journey that you will need to help your child with. You’ll need to lead by example and show a lot of care. But with technology becoming ubiquitous in ways we have never expected, the ability to use technology consciously will help your child immensely.

Announcing the Launch of Georgia Test Prep

It is with great pleasure we announce that today we have launched Georgia Test Prep, an online solution to help parents and students of the state of Georgia create a solid foundation in Georgia Standards of Excellence.

Georgia Test Prep is meant to supplement a child’s school learning by providing a place to practice thousands of Georgia standards based math and ELA questions online, from the safety and comfort of home. Parents and students can easily track students’ progress and eliminate the need for purchasing a number of costly practice books or spending endless hours searching for worksheets and then checking them, because all of the content is digitally available.

Why Georgia Test Prep?

Georgia educators are doing an outstanding job of teaching the standards set for Georgia’s curriculum in school. But there isn’t enough opportunity for the repetition of concepts. For students to truly retain what they learn, they have to continuously practice answering questions on a topic they want to master.

So a team of parents of school children and Georgia state teachers got together to solve this. And thus Georgia Test Prep was born.

Georgia Test Prep Benefits Students and Parents

The content has been specifically designed to be aligned with Georgia school curriculums. It is made in Georgia, by Georgia teachers, especially for Georgia students.

Parents can use the tool to assign homework to their kids, and parents and students both get a dashboard to monitor the student’s progress. The entire bank of questions is being made available for less than ten cents a day.

Georgia Test Prep makes it easy for students and parents because:

  • All the material is available online.
  • The tool is available wherever the student is, all they need is an internet connection. There is no need to carry around cumbersome books or worksheets.
  • Parents don’t have to invest in multiple expensive books that soon become obsolete.
  • Parents can spend time helping their children strengthen their basics rather than checking the answers, since the web application does it automatically.
  • Since the content is developed based on Georgia school curriculums, you can be assured that it is an effective tool that addresses what students are expected to know by GSE.

Georgia Test Prep is a great ally for parents to help their kids get an edge in their education and an easy tool to help kids practice math and ELA questions closely aligned to the Core curriculum and GSE. It is available today at https://georgiatestprep.com/.

Smash Your Kid’s Math Anxiety: 7 Simple Tricks Parents Can Use

Math has a bad rep, and the reason is that a lot of people feel at least some level of math phobia. For them, anxiety and math just go hand in hand. The truth is that math anxiety isn’t a natural condition, but that it develops in our minds early in life. 

If math anxiety is not addressed early on in a child’s life, it can lead them to develop an emotional block and cause a mental paralysis when they are faced with math. Students will then develop an aversion to math, making it even more difficult to learn new math skills.

Children then wind up carrying this block with them for the rest of their life. In fact, one study reported that 93% of adult Americans experience some level of math anxiety.

The good news about this is that, if you detect that your kids have math phobia then there are concrete things that you can do to help them in overcoming math anxiety. And it’s not just about math tutoring, so you don’t have to be a genius yourself. It’s not the role of parents to be professors, but you can still help them be successful in math simply by:

  • Reassuring them, giving positive reinforcement, and helping them shake off mistakes.
  • Providing practical assistance that is at a level that both you and your child are comfortable at.
  • Making math fun and relatable. Yes, it is possible!

The cause of math anxiety

Math anxiety in kids begins when they don’t master early math skills. Lessons move on, and they are continually expected to learn more difficult math when they haven’t yet gotten the basics down.

They may feel anxious about not getting the answers right and not understanding what is being taught, leading to frustration. They may also see their peers excelling in math, and doubt their own skills and capacity to learn. It leads them to get stuck in a fixed mindset that they “are just not good at math” –and this simply is not true! (Do have a look at our article on the growth and fixed mindset; promoting a growth mindset in your child ties in crucially to this post).

Once anxiety sets in, it creates a negative feedback loop. It can impact a lot of the things that are important for learning, like attention, memory, and processing speed, thereby compounding negative effects as they get older.

How to help ease your child’s math anxiety

So, we’ve covered why early intervention in math anxiety is important. Now let’s get right into what you as a parent can do to help your kids smash their math anxiety with these 7 simple tricks.

1. Build a positive attitude toward math – starting with your own

The most foundational thing you can do to help your children in math is to build a positive attitude around it. This might involve assessing how you feel about math and how you express it! 

Have you ever said things such as, “I’m not good at math,” or “I just don’t like math”? If so, then perhaps it’s time to reset the way you think about math. After all, kids pick up attitudes from their parents. 

So express positive emotions about math, even if only for your kid’s sake! Also, ditch the idea that some people are not good at math, and be verbal about this. Constantly reassure your kids that anyone can learn math (and extend this attitude to all subjects).

2. Promote the student’s confidence

Students with math anxiety are almost always insecure about their abilities. They will approach a math problem or concept with the assumption that they will not understand it. 

Teach them that it’s normal, and even OK, to feel negative feelings when faced with a problem. Everyone goes through it! This will teach them to handle their emotions better.At the same time, keep giving them positive reinforcement. Sometimes it takes time to overcome the belief that we can’t do something, but constant encouragement helps. Remember to check out our article on promoting a growth mindset for more depth on this concept.

3. Make a game of math

There are plenty of math-themed games to play. Whether you want to play an online game specifically designed to teach math, or play a game that inherently involves math (like Monopoly Deal, or something), it will give children a chance to apply math skills in a playful context.

4. Practice with your child

Parents read to children to develop reading skills. But somehow doing math with kids at home for fun is just not as common, or almost unheard of.

Make it a habit to practice math with your kids. This helps them develop positive associations with math before they start school. But even if your kids are already in middle school, it will still be a positive experience when you take the time to practice with them.

5. Make math relevant to them

Bring math out of the context of solving a problem, and associate it with real life. After all, that’s where most of us wind up using math the most!

Ask them to help with calculations while cooking, or with change at the grocery store. Use metaphors with their favorite sport (how many touchdowns does Team X have to score to tie with Team Y who is 12 points ahead)? Get in on a game of Pokemon cards if you have to! 

This will help them come out of the “classroom mode”, which might be serving as a blocker to developing their math skills.

6. Read math books at bedtime

Sounds a little strange? Well, this one is backed by a scientific study. In a 2018 study from Columbia University’s Barnard College, researchers assessed how effective math-related bedtime stories would affect 1st-grade children’s math potential.

They used an app called Bedtime Math (available for free on Google PlayStore), where kids would answer content questions, simple addition, or math word problems after hearing a story. After one year of observation, it was determined that such an intervention can have powerful lasting effects on children’s academic achievements.

Note: Bedtime Math is actually an app aimed at helping parents with math anxiety to help their kids, but it can help all parents to bring math to their young child in a fun way. This app has numerous benefits.

7. Let kids take time to answer questions

The elegance of this solution lies in its simplicity and the science behind it.

A study has shown that teachers wait 0.7-1.4 seconds after asking a student a question before moving on. But it takes students up to 10 seconds to process questions and formulate answers. Simply allowing your children time to think after asking them a question will foster an environment for critical thinking and success.

In fact, another 1972 study showed that when you give students at least three seconds of undisturbed wait-time, there are numerous positive outcomes.

What is the story behind Georgia Test Prep?

Being parents of young children it was evident that our work was cut out for us in order to support our children’s learning journey. We knew that the teachers at school were doing a great job in teaching them the Georgia standards. But just like anything else, without repetition of the material they could not retain a lot of what they had just learnt. In order to help them we had to search for the relevant worksheets online, print them, and ask our kids to complete them. Checking their work was yet another cumbersome task. And once they completed the practice sheets, we had to look for other worksheets. This was becoming tiresome and redundant. 

We purchased some books from a local store and also bought some online. It was hard to find out which ones were relevant to the subject material taught at school and which ones would mimic how their testing was going to look like. We realized that we spent a lot of money on the books for each child and were still not convinced that it was the best we could provide them with. 

That put us on a journey to find websites that would allow for them to practice online without the hassle of printing sheets and correcting them but pretty quickly we realized that was a very costly option. 

This is where Georgia Test Prep was born! We figured that there are a lot of parents in a similar situation like ours who are also struggling to impart the right education to their children. We reached out to some of the parents around us who had kids in Elementary & Middle school and talked to them and concluded that creating an online platform that can address such issues would help parents provide a strong foundation to their children.

What makes Georgia Test Prep a good solution for parents?

Georgia Test Prep is a comprehensive web app that helps students practice answering ELA & Math questions that are aligned with the standards taught in school. With less than 10 cents per day, the members get access to thousands of questions for ELA and Math practice online. The web app offers curriculum resources and practice questions to the students from grades 3 to 8. We have Georgia teachers working with us to prepare the best practice sheets according to Georgia standards.

Georgia Test Prep Filler image

This web app bridges the gap between the classroom and at-home learning. Parents can assign the homework to their children and once the student completes it, online assessment helps parents know about the performance of their child. This saves parents hours and hours of time that they were spending on checking worksheets. This web app motivates the students to work without any assistance from a parent or a teacher.  It also makes the students more confident as they get a better grip of Math and ELA. 

With a lot of schools operating online virtual classes due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there is a need for online assessment tools that helps parents understand gaps in their child’s knowledge and areas of improvement and help fill it.  And that is what we are here for!!!

Sign up now for getting updates as the web app launches in July 2020.

How can Georgia Test Prep help parents get complete peace of mind?

Are you tired of

… finding relevant worksheets online for your child? 

… printing out the worksheets every single time?

… spending hundreds of dollars on practice books that will be discarded after one use?

… spending hours trying to correct the worksheets or the practice books?

Due to COVID-19, many parents, students, and teachers tried to adapt to a new method of learning as the school year came to a close. Parents across Georgia took an active role as educators along with the teachers by staying connected via online communication tools and technologies. Most of the schools will be offering similar options that might include virtual classes as school reopens to help the children stay home safely. Your child will have to learn a new curriculum for the next grade on zoom in a classroom of 25-30 other children. This will require them to study a lot of the material on their own and repetition will be a key to retaining that information. You may be looking for innovative ways to help your children accomplish just that.

What are the challenges faced by parents?

Lack of time

Nowadays, parents have to work from dawn to dusk everyday to maintain the financial stability of the family. Working parents may find it difficult to find time to download the worksheets, print them, and get it completed by the child. They might not be able to devote time to check the work completed by their kids. 

Buying costly practice books

A lot of parents spend hundreds of dollars in purchasing practice books for their children. Not to mention they are discarded after one use and there is always a dilemma which one to purchase that is most relevant to what is being taught in school.

Not familiar with the Georgia Standards

Do you ever wonder what to focus on when helping your child review what is being taught in school? The basics of what is being taught may not change, but what the kids are expected to know for their grades and what they are tested for.

How can Georgia Test Prep help the parents?

Georgia test prep

Georgia Test Prep is a low-cost solution to make your children practice Math and ELA online. For less than 10 cents a day, you can get access to questions that are aligned with the state of Georgia. 

  • Parents can assign homework to their children and help them improve the areas where they lack.
  • Progress monitoring helps the parents make the right decisions when it comes to assigning practice tests for the children. 
  • As the answers are checked automatically, parents get a lot of relief when they can save a lot of time, effort, and money with the Georgia Prep Test web app 
  • You get access to comprehensive practice sheets for students. 
  • Multiple choice questions engage the students and they’d fall in love with Georgia Test Prep. 

So, what are you waiting for?  Sign up today for news on the upcoming launch.